- Her favourite word was women.
Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Laval (Québec)
Lost her last election, in 2011, with 22.70% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Canada-Panama Free Trade Act February 4th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, while I am pleased to rise in the House to debate Bill C-46, I feel somewhat strange doing so. This past Tuesday, February 1, was groundhog day. In the United States, in Philadelphia, Phil came out of his hole and realized that he could not see his shadow. This apparently means we will have an early spring, which I am quite happy about.
Knowing that I would be debating this bill here today, it felt a little like groundhog day. We debated a very similar bill last fall, a bill that had to do with a free trade agreement between Colombia and Canada, which we did not agree with either, but which was passed in this House thanks to the Liberal and Conservative members.
When we explained why we did not agree with that bill, our reasons were very similar to our reasons for disagreeing with this bill. Of course, the current situation in Panama is a little different from what was going on in Colombia and is still going on there today. We did not agree with what was happening in Colombia last fall. The Conservatives and the Liberals voted in favour of the free trade agreement between Canada and Colombia, and the situation in that country has not changed much.
Atrocities are still being committed against people who simply want to defend their labour rights. Workers there have no more rights than they did before and the mining companies do not respect their rights any more than they did. The government is just as corrupt as it was before and very little effort has been made to change anything. Yet in the fall, we were told that the deal would bring considerable change and that discussions were already under way in that regard.
The government is talking about a free trade agreement with the Republic of Panama. It is not that the Bloc Québécois does not believe in free trade. On the contrary, we believe in it and are in favour of it, but we think that we should focus on multilateral approaches instead, which are much more effective in developing fairer trade that respects the interests of all nations.
However, the Conservative government seems to focus more on bilateral agreements, which do not benefit all nations and, more specifically, do not benefit the people who live in the countries involved in the agreements. These bilateral agreements are not beneficial to Quebec or Canada.
In the summer of 2010, the right-wing government in Panama passed a law prohibiting unionized workers from defending their rights and making it a crime to demonstrate to defend their rights. Of course, they say that this law is currently being reviewed, that it will be repealed and completely reworked, but what guarantees do we have?
We were told that Colombian workers would no longer be killed and that they would be heard, but they were not. They can make all the promises they want, but until we have proof and guarantees that men and women will be treated with respect, the problem will persist. One of the problems in Panama right now is that women and children are not treated with respect. Because there are loopholes in the labour laws, children continue to work and women are not treated equally and do not have the respect they deserve.
Naturally, the Bloc Québécois is not in favour of this bill. It is opposed to any bill that would not guarantee that a country's people would have their rights respected. It is also opposed to any bill that would not guarantee, here in Canada, that our banking regulations would be respected.
Unfortunately, Panama does not respect tax regulations and there is tax evasion there. We do not have any assurances right now that this problem will be resolved. The government has not signed any agreements or treaties with Panama to ensure that these regulations would be respected that we would not have to worry in the future if the bill were passed.
I think there are already so many tax havens, and so many businesses, companies and people evading taxes, that our huge deficits keep growing. In my opinion, the people who earn the most money should pay their share, as all citizens must, including the entire middle class who pays the most tax in Quebec and Canada.
I am sure people in the middle class would like companies and individuals who evade taxes to be required to pay their fair share to the Canadian treasury. If they did, our programs could be improved and we would have better programs, not just for women and children, but also for seniors.
The government says that it currently cannot invest more money in programs for seniors and children because of our significant debt. If we went after the money in the countries where tax evasion has been occurring for a very long time now, I am sure we would manage to quickly eliminate our debt. If we just conclude free trade agreements with countries without worrying about resolving this problem, then people who are benefiting from tax evasion and agreements with these countries will continue to evade taxes and put their money wherever they can, without worrying about paying their fair share. That is wrong. Everyone should pay their fair share because everyone benefits from programs.
We are against this bill. It is important for members of the House to understand, yet again, that this type of bill should not be passed. I hope this time we will make sure it is not.
Status of Women February 4th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was recently boasting about his government's accomplishments over the past five years. The real picture, however, is far less impressive, particularly concerning the status of women. Let me refresh everyone's memories.
Since 2005, the Conservatives have slashed Status of Women Canada's budget by 40%, thereby forcing the closure of 12 of its 14 offices. They abolished the court challenges program. They eliminated funding allocated for feminist research and women's rights organizations.
Conservative members have introduced bills attacking women's rights and the gains we have made. Consider for example Bill C-391 to abolish the long gun registry or Bill C-510 on abortion. Even more recently, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development suggested that women who have other people care for their children are inferior mothers.
This government has done nothing for women. If anything, it has compromised the gains women have made over the years. That is a more accurate portrait of the Conservatives.
Canada-Panama Free Trade Act February 4th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, I was listening closely to my colleague and I was wondering if she could elaborate on the impact this might have on Quebec and its industries, for whom trade and exports are of capital importance.
Petitions December 16th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present a petition signed by 576 petitioners from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the Maison Simonne Monet-Chartrand in Chambly; Teamsters Quebec, local 1999; the Agriculture Union; CUPE of Dorval; the Royal Canada Mounted Police; and the Quebec City Integrated Proceeds of Crime. This fifth petition adds to the others already presented for a total of 5,230 signatures. These petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to develop an administrative agreement with the Government of Quebec giving all pregnant women in Quebec the right to access the preventive withdrawal program offered by Quebec's occupational health and safety commission.
Roger Fournier December 10th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, I rise here today to thank Roger Fournier, who keeps Bloc Québécois members well informed, through his curiosity and interest in many social issues.
Every week, Mr. Fournier prepares a detailed press review and provides my office with documentation—such as articles found in newspapers or on the Internet—that have to do with the status of women. He does the same for the Bloc Québécois environment critic and fisheries critic, among others.
Mr. Fournier, a retired employee of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, became a sovereignist largely because of the blatant lack of respect shown to Quebeckers within the public service in Ottawa. He is a member of the Bloc Québécois riding association executive in Brossard—La Prairie.
Mr. Fournier, on behalf of the members of the Bloc Québécois, I wish to express our appreciation for the work you do and thank you for supporting our daily efforts to become a sovereign country.
Post-secondary Education December 3rd, 2010
Mr. Speaker, according to the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities, Quebec universities are underfunded to the tune of $620 million compared to the Canadian average. Quebec is still waiting for the federal government to correct the fiscal imbalance, which would restore over $800 million to Quebec to return funding to 1994-95 indexed levels.
When will the federal government correct this unfair situation for Quebec university students?
Firearms Registry December 2nd, 2010
Mr. Speaker, on December 5, it will be 15 years since Bill C-68, An Act respecting firearms and other weapons, received royal assent. Unfortunately it took the death of 14 young female students in Quebec for the federal government to pass tougher gun control legislation.
This legislation allowed for the creation of the firearms registry, a vital tool in fighting violence against women. A number of people and organizations, including victims' parents, various police forces and women's groups, have demonstrated to us that the registry is useful and necessary for public safety. Over the years, it has been proven that the registry is indispensable to law enforcement both in finding weapons and in preventing violent crime.
It is unfortunate that the Conservatives are trying to abolish the registry at all costs. The firearms registry is working, and it is important to maintain it.
Guaranteed Income Supplement November 26th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, when we asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development why the government refused to increase the guaranteed income supplement by $110 a month, we were told that the government is already helping seniors through the TFSA, as though our most vulnerable citizens have the means to play the stock market with their GIS cheques.
How can the Conservative government be so out of touch with the reality facing our seniors?
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women November 25th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, 2010 marks the 11th anniversary of the United Nations' proclamation of November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Violence can take many forms: forced marriage, repudiation, female genital mutilation, physical violence, trafficking, rape—especially during times of war—persecution of lesbians, and even stoning or murder. These actions are sometimes perpetrated with the blessing of governments, or even organized by them.
Worldwide, one woman in two is subjected to acts of violence, which put all women at risk and hinder efforts made by all societies to foster development, peace and gender equality. Let us put an end to it.
In closing, I deplore the absence of the Minister for Status of Women from the launch of the YWCA Rose Campaign this morning.
Status of Women November 1st, 2010
Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is once again trying to impose its ideological agenda on Quebec women by reopening the abortion debate. The chair of the anti-abortion caucus introduced a bill meant to isolate women who are considering the procedure.
It is not just domestically that this government is calling into question a woman's right to choose. While the minister responsible for CIDA is announcing her child and maternal health plan for the 10 poorest countries, we still do not know whether the organizations that offer abortion-related services will continue to be funded. All forms of birth control, including abortion, should be funded by this plan.
The Fédération du Québec pour le planning des naissances, the Fédération des femmes du Québec and Action Canada for Population and Development are just some of the organizations that oppose these backward and ideological decisions. The Conservative government must stop tampering with the hard-won rights of women once and for all.